The world is full of natural wonders but when the borders are closed and travel is restricted. Seeing them in person is not a realistic option for many people. Fortunately, technology allows us to see the world virtually and visit these magical places-even through screens.
You may recognize many amazing scenery in this gallery from your own travel, Instagram or desktop screensaver. For some people, they can calm a busy day and avoid the reality of a pandemic.
But these images can also serve as warnings. Due to man-made climate change, these incredible places are at great risk of permanent change.
For 50 years, “Earth Day” has drawn attention to the impact of people on the planet, and has served as a call for people to protect the natural world, from green spaces near you to bucket list destinations.
This year, the theme of Earth Day (April 22) is to call for action to stop the climate crisis and preserve these iconic buildings for future generations. If not, these photos may look very different in another 50 years.
Located at the junction of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls usually spans 2 kilometers (1.25 miles), and its waters drop down to 100 meters (350 feet) in the valley below. During the dry season, it shrank, but in the past year, when a major drought caused by climate change hit the area, the waterfall shrank. Now its waterfall is back. However, this transition between extreme weather can be devastating for people and ecosystems that depend on reliable water sources.
The Florida Keys are among the most vulnerable places in the US to the effects of the climate crisis. Warm ocean temperatures are bleaching the surrounding reefs. The threat of sea level rise continues to grow. And as always, the possibility of hurricanes looms, with climate change increasing the destructive potential of these tropical storms.
Over its more than 1,000-year history, Venice is no stranger to flooding. But with rising seas, its yearly flooding events have become more common and damaging. Just last year, in a cruel twist of irony, the city’s Veneto regional council was flooded just minutes after they voted to reject measures to combat climate change.
The Colorado River is picturesque, but it also provides water for more than 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles. However, compared to the last century, its flow has been reduced by 20%. Researchers say the climate crisis is to blame. More than half of the decline in river flow is related to temperature rise. They said that as climate warming continues, the risk of “serious water shortages” for the millions of people who rely on it is expected to increase.
Like the Arctic, Antarctica is warming faster than most other regions in the world, and the continent is undergoing shocking changes. This year recorded the warmest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica, glaciers collapsed an iceberg the size of Atlanta, and penguins known as the African continent are also falling. The effects of climate change will be felt worldwide. According to data from the World Meteorological Organization, Antarctica’s ice sheet contains enough water to raise global sea levels by nearly 200 feet.
For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Philippines have shaped the landscape of the mountains on Luzon. However, with the frequent occurrence of extreme rainfall events in Southeast Asia, they are more prone to mudslides than ever before.
Covering nearly 133,000 square miles, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, with more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 species of hard corals and dozens of other species. But with the climate crisis causing ocean temperatures to rise, coral reefs are bleaching-scientists worry that coral reefs may never recover. Earlier this year, it experienced the third large-scale bleaching event in the past five years.
Alaska and the Arctic are warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. This rapid warming is melting glaciers, increasing algae growth, killing salmon and fueling wildfires.
Content Source: Earth Day photos: The world’s beauty is at risk